Rob. Shields & William Erskine to Alex. Shields 1843 % Cpn Jas. Trumbel postmarked L.26 JY43.D, dated Galston, July 18th
We received your letter of June the 1st and we are glad to hear you are all well: with regard to your Brother Hugh, he was complaining a little of the cold the week before his death, but he said he was better. He was at Darvel on Sabath and came home with me in a good spirit as usual. On Monday he was complaing a little but was out on the street; he got rather worse towards night. On Tuesday he kept his room but thought he was better. On Wednesday he rose and took some breakfast and sat till after diner time but got that much worse that Betty and her father had to carry him to bed. The brought the doctor, he said he could do nothing for him, as he was not sick and said he felt no pain, only a kind of giddyness and weakness. After that he got into a kind of stupor and talked little all the afternoon. When I came home at night we went up and laid him in what we thought a more easy posture. Betty then asked him if he wanted a drink; he said no. That I think was the last word he spoke. We saw that death was evidently approaching. I went up and told the doctor. He said he could do nothing for him, but he would go down to satisfy us. When he came in he said he was much worse, but could do nothing for his relief. I sat all night with him, but he apeared to be insensible that I was there. When I weted his mouth he paid no atention to it. Between 4 and 5 o’clock he got more distressed and continued till between 6 and 7 when he died, so I think he never thought he was dying; indeed for the last 8 hours of his life, I think he did not know he was in existence. There is no doubt it would have been a great comfort to us had he been able to spoken to us, but is was other wise ordered and we must submit. With regards to his worldly affairs, I am willing to give you a statement and I am hapy you have sought it as I mean to be reasonable and I hope you will be consistant and not be like the Farmer and Lawyer represented in the fable when you are willing to share in the prophets proffits. I hope you will be ready to be your part in makeing up the defiecency: In the first place, he had a room for 10 years that he Paid us no rent for, which was regularly let for 2£ Per year, which amounts to 20 Pound, and it is 8 years past about new Years day since he came down to it and in that time I can possitively state that he neither bought A pound of meal nor A peck of Potatoes nor any other thing, only sometimes on a Saturday night he would buy a loave and that but seldom. You may think that 10 years rent and 8 years meat is a seeming contradiction. I shall endeavour to make that plain to you.
When my father in law [ Robert ] and us went together to live as one family, he [ Hugh ] engaged for the house, but delayed from time to time in comeing and would not give it up but kept Posession of it with Part of his Books. We were informed that he was miserable and was Bakward to expose his bed clothes &cet. We got a beding of clothes made up for and went for him when he came cherfully. All this was knowne to a number o Then after the funeral there was nothing said respecting his effects. But when I was convoying our friends away I was a little struck when Francis Young told me that you told him before you went away toAmerica, that Hugh would have about a hundred Pounds worth of Books. I said little at the time, but came home and told my father in law that it was possible there might be a misunderstanding and it would be best to make them an offer. We then got in all the Books that was out and then we then offered you Brother John and your two sisters that if they or any of their familys either singly or together would pay us four fifths of what 2 neutral men would allow us for what we had done for him, we would ask nothing for our share. We would give up every pins worth belonging to him. But this the would not accept of as the said that the knew there was a great defiesency. Your Brother John told me that we should be recompenced, but that was not in his power; all he could do was to thank us and your sister in Darveltold your Brother Robt to the same effect. To show that the forgoing statement is corect I will leave room for the names of some of our friends if an opertunity ocur. Signed: John Shields, Byres of Loudon; James Woodburn, Darvel. With regard to his property he had in money I think 6/7hapeny when he dyied, and as for his Bookes I
had plenty of catalogues to guide me so that I knew the value of them. The price of them that we sold after deducting the expence of cariage and so, is £19-0-2; there is what we think about 6 Pounds worth yet; some of them we intend to keep and some we intend to sell. There is indeed some manuscrips besides that is not valued. I do not know if the would bring any thing, but I am fond to keep them for there antiquity, and respecting his furniture and clothes I am at a loss to Put a value on them. The are for no use to us, and there is no person will offer us money for them. But we will say a pound for them, which is more than we will get for them, which in whole is about 26 Pound; and there is several small debts we had to pay since his death. We settled an account of £1-5-0 the other week that he had borrowed from widow Young hardware merchant ten years ago. She said he often acknowledged it but could not Pay it, so if we cont up houserent, funeral expences and these small debts there will be nothing left for keeping.
There is also between 7 and 8 Pounds stands for rent to Mr. Reid befor he came down to us; we will not pay it if we can help it, but we will rather Pay it as risk a law suit. Now you are aware that there is none of your friends that is able to do any thing in the way of help and as money is not so plenty with us as formerly B my father in law has wrought none for a number of years, and he lost £34-15-0 with Bruce Cuthbertson’s old master, wich was nearly all the money he had, so we hope you will candidly consider the matter and do as you would be done to in sending us what you think your share of his keeping. We wrote to Robert Young, but he said he was not owing him a farthing, so we will trouble ourselves no more with it, if any of our friends wishes to do it, the are welcome. I am sorry I have no room for any Public news. With regard to the church question, there is nere to 500 of them came out. Your answer to this as soon as it comes to hand will oblige yours truely, William Erskine. Dear Brother,
I think the above statement is corect. It is a long time since I wrote to you. I am very unfit for writing. I see so very bad, I can scarce get glasses that I can read with. I walk about the water a good dail and fishies. I have not much troble but am very weak. We are all in our ordnary stat of health at the time with all the rest of your freands in thes place. As far as wee know. I have gaven up all hop of comming to America, I expected to have com, but the time is gon past and now I am altoger unfote. I expected that you or som of your Sons wold have come over and paid os a veaset, but I most stop in wishing you and all of os a metting in a better world.
I remain your Brother & welwisher,
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